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Fall armyworms strike again

Farmers in parts of Chepalungu, Bomet central, and Sotik are staring at losses after the fall of army worms invaded their farms, destroying maize, sorghum, and finger millet.

Ann Ngetich, a farmer from Sachangwan in Sotik Sub-county, Bomet County, said she was shocked one day when she woke up and found his farm invaded by the fall armyworm.

“Regrettably, there seems to be no immediate remedy to the problem and we are definitely in for huge losses,” Ms. Ngetich said.

“The cost of production has gone up sharply due to the high cost of farm inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. At least 15 of my 20 acres under maize has been infested,” lamented Ms. Ngetich

“I cannot afford pesticides and this is the case with most farmers here. But we get some reprieve whenever it rains. We have noticed that the worms disappear whenever it rains,” she noted.

Bomet County and most parts of the South Rift have experienced a prolonged dry spell due to what the meteorological department has termed as climate change.

Mr. Paul Mutai, a smallholder farmer from the Sotik Constituency, is also staring at losses after his three acres under millet were infested.

“All my efforts have gone to waste. They invaded my farm and in one day everything was gone. I think I am going to uproot the stems and hopefully start all over again,” said Mutai.

The Department of Agriculture in the County through its Chief Officer has assured farmers that they have put in strong measures to counter the spread of the worms.

In a report, the Chief Officer Dr. Kibet Sitinei said the County has ordered pesticides from the Ministry of Agriculture and the situation is contained.

“We have worked hard to contain the spread and invasion of these worms, our administration has already ordered pesticides from relevant departments in the Ministry of Agriculture, and different stakeholders have been roped in to assist in managing the situation,” said Dr. Kibet.

The County Executive Committee Member for Cooperative Rose Langat has pleaded with farmers in the region to report any suspicious cases of African armyworms in their farms for early containment measures.

“We are urging our farmers to make fast reports and let the department of agriculture know of any cases of invasion of African armyworms in their farms for the relevant department to act swiftly and contain the situation and salvage farmers from losses,” explained Langat.

By Lamech Willy

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